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Buyer beware: ‘Very sophisticated’ gift card scam likely padding Chinese bank accounts

As shoppers search for the perfect Christmas gifts for family and friends this holiday season, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office recently announced that there is a “very sophisticated” gift card scam that could impact the nation. revealed.

new york post report The Sheriff's Office conducted a retail theft prevention operation that resulted in 285 felony and misdemeanor arrests in just one week. This business was primarily focused on major stores, where gift cards are particularly popular.

Among those arrested were Chinese nationals who had accumulated thousands of Target and Apple gift cards.

“During a recent retail theft operation Bad Elf, detectives observed a person later identified as Ningning Sun acting suspiciously near gift cards in the payment aisle of a Target store in Sacramento. ” the sheriff's office said in a press release.

Investigators apparently saw Sun take all the gift cards from a rack at Target and stuff them into his jacket. He then replaced the gift cards with “another seemingly identical set.”

fox news digital report Members of the sheriff's office reportedly chased Sun outside before arresting him.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Amal Ghadi said.[t]The man in the hat explodes like a piñata at a child's birthday party, spilling gift cards from his jacket. ”

After his arrest, authorities found thousands of gift cards stuffed into Sun's car. Gandhi noted that the suspects stole the gift cards and carefully peeled off the adhesive covering the card's barcode. He then allegedly recorded the PIN, resealed the barcode with a similar adhesive and returned the card to the shelf.

The press release states:[The] The investigation revealed that Sun participated in a scam in which gift cards were tampered with and the barcode was scanned while money was loaded on the gift card to steal money. Victims are completely unaware that it is happening, and funds are often siphoned off to offshore accounts within seconds. Their investigation revealed that the operation spanned all of California and several areas across the country. ”

The customer then enters the store, purchases the tampered gift card, and loads money onto it. However, the money that customers believed was loaded onto their cards was actually transferred to their bank accounts. Mr Gandhi said the funds were believed to have been transferred to banks in China.

“Are you going to confront someone who gave you a $0 gift card? No, that's rude. And you're going to sit there and be fat and stupid and happy and think, 'Oh, who am I? “They think, 'I did something good for them,' but they don't even realize that their money is gone,” he said.

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